Do you want to know what makes a great web design?
There’s a lot more than pretty pictures, colours and font that go into a ensuring a website has a good design.
So many business owners get excited about the idea of building a website and it’s all about the colours, fonts and pictures they want to use. Quite often, they will end up with a website that might look ok, but it doesn’t function well at all. Customers leave because it’s confusing and it’s not optimised so they’re lucky if anyone ever finds it.
Today I am going to go into the core elements that make up a great website layout.
First up, I’d like to get into the key purposes of your website.
- Builds your brand image
- Sells your product/service
- Collects/gathers information (leads)
Next let’s look at a website structure.
Your website structure is how different pages on your site are organised and link together. Your website structure serves two purposes:
- To offer a great UX (user experience). We want to make it as easy as possible for visitors to find what they are looking for and to know what to do next.
- Assists with SEO as it makes it easy for Google to crawl your site.
How to know the right website structure for your business
To help you figure out the right structure and layout for your website, the first step is to know your customers. Remember, your website is here to serve YOUR CUSTOMERS, so everything we include on the website needs to make sense to them.
So, if you haven’t done one yet, make sure you’ve developed a Customer Persona as this is what will determine your website layout.
Your layout will also be influenced by the type of content you are showcasing. An e-commerce site will have a different layout to a traditional service-based business.
Types of pages you might include on your website.
This is your main page of your website hierarchy and the place most website visitors will land. Your homepage is your business overview. It needs to showcase;
- What problem you solve (what you offer)
- Who you help
- What action you want them to take
Your website homepage is quite often your first impression for your potential customers and you have a just a few short second to make a big impact.
The most important aspect of your homepage is that within the first few seconds, your visitor needs to know WHAT YOUR BUSINESS IS ABOUT and HOW YOU ARE GOING TO SOLVE THEIR PROBLEM!
I’ve included some elements you might include on your website homepage below. Just remember, more isn’t necessarily better. Make sure it is easy for users to know what action you want them to take.
Elements to help you create your perfect homepage
HEADLINE – You only have a few seconds to let your visitors know what your site is about. Your headline needs to be CLEAR AND SIMPLE and above the fold (the point where a person needs to scroll). Your headline is most probably one of the MOST important aspects of your homepage, so take your time creating this.
SEO Tip – Your main headline should be H1 and be your keyword for that page.
SUB HEADLINE – Brief description of what you do/offer. Focus on one pain point your ideal customer might have and how you will solve it.
SEO Tip – This could be a H2 or H3 – If practical you could include a variation of your keyword or keyphrase.
PRIMARY CALLS TO ACTION – The goal is to get your visitors to DIVE DEEPER into your site. Include 2-3 CTA that are above the fold (scroll point). Make your CTA visually appealing and in a different colour to the rest of your homepage. Brief description (no more than 5 words). Examples – Sign up, Try it for Free, Make an appointment, See the menu, Programs.
TIP – Think about WHERE you want your customers to go after the homepage, what is the ONE button you want them to click. Make that obvious.
IMAGES – Should clearly showcase what you offer. Images that capture emotion are great. (Ideally not stock images!)
SEO Tip – All images should have an Alt Text – This tells Google what the image is about. Without an alt text on the image, Google cannot read images and all those pretty pictures on your site will be useless in helping to tell Google what your website is about.
BENEFITS – What are your customers going to get from working from you? Keep it easy to read in the language of your customers.
SOCIAL PROOF – Quotes, images. Ideally, include a name with your testimonials to make them more credible. Social proof is a powerful indicator of trust.
SEO Tip – Install a plugin that allows your Google reviews to showcase on your website.
LOGO – Usually in top left hand corner in menu.
LINKS TO SOCIAL MEDIA – Can be in header or footer.
Optional – Features/product comparisons
Optional – Resources – Most website visitors will not be ready to buy on their first visit. Give them a reason to stay or come back by offering resources, blogs are great for this. It also helps to build your expertise and authoritativeness.
Optional – Success Indicators – Any awards you might have. As seen in…. etc.
Simple Homepage example – This is a large e-commerce site, but they make it pretty obvious they either want you to shop ‘women’ or ‘men’ or do a search.
Services and Product Pages
This is where you can showcase your product and services and go into MORE detail. These can be more like a sales page where you present your offer and really SELL IT.
Tips – If you are selling products online, make sure your purchasing process is EASY. The less steps the better. Make it EASY for your customers to make a purchase or contact you.
If you are building an e-commerce website and have lots of products, try and group them into categories and subcategories.
Give visitors a clear path into your site from your homepage. Keep your navigation at the top of the page. Don’t try and get fancy and do different things with your navigation, most website users EXPECT a menu at the top of the page and if they can’t easily find a way to navigate through the site, you will lose them.
- Keep your menu simple, do not clutter
- Use short phrases
- Simple language
The example below is Apple’s website. They have a lot of pages and content as you can see by the menu in the footer, but they have kept their main website navigation simple so users can easily navigate through the site.
And before I forget, the NUMBER 1 THING you need to think about before going crazy designing is how are your customers going to find your website.
Ultimately, you are going to need to optimise your site for your keywords (the search terms your ideal customers use to find your service/product) and you need to think about this BEFORE you start designing your website.
Well, because your url’s, site structure and layout of your site all impact how Google’s algorithm reads your site. If you’ve done a crap job, you won’t be found and it’s much easier to get things right from the start.
If you need a hand planning out a great web design, simply book in for a FREE Strategy Session.